Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Trans-Atlantic Knowledge Exchange => Topic started by: Steph.A. on November 21, 2011, 06:26:36 PM

Title: Kids and Wine
Post by: Steph.A. on November 21, 2011, 06:26:36 PM
I hope I'm not opening a can of worms here, but one of the things that always baffles me when I'm in the U.S. is that alcohol is such a big taboo. I was just reminded of this this past weekend when I went to a winetasting where the parents brought their young (5 year-old) daughter and having an U.S American comment negatively about it. The child was also perfectly well behaved and a joy for all of us there throughout the evening.

I was introduced to wine and beer at a very young age - not drinking it, but being around it, my parents would drink some wine or beer with us kids around and taking us to wine tastings (where, yes, we were allowed to have a tiny sip, which we did not like).
Same as vacationing in France, a little bit of wine in a glass of water was considered completely fine for kids (from I think 5 or 6 years on?) or having some of the foam on top of dads beer. Again, not the preferred drink of any kid, but it certainly took the magic away.

 A glass of champagne at New Years Eve was fine  (in my family) after turning 14 and having had confirmation. And then, well, being in Germany, wine and beer were legal anyway at 16 years of age. (Please note that it's also legal for a child to have certain amounts of alcohol under 16 years of age, as long as the parents are present and okay with it.)

So, having had a childhood like that, and growing up to be responsible and educated about how much and when I choose to drink, I'm kind of leaning towards not making alcohol a taboo in my household.

I guess I just wonder why the views on kids "growing up with alcohol" diverge so much, and how you see it on the other side of the pond.

Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: KenveeB on November 21, 2011, 07:09:43 PM
I dislike kids at things like wine tastings less because of "oh noes, teh alcohol!" than because it strikes me as a grown-up event.  More invasion of children into every single sphere, so to have a child-free evening you have to go to the strip club or something.  :P

That said, I actually agree with you that the American way of turning alcohol into this big forbidden fruit is the reason binge drinking in colleges is such a huge problem.  Introduce children to drinking responsibly, don't make it into a Big Huge Deal to drink, and they'll grow up to be more responsible drinkers.  I never cared about going out to get wasted like most everyone else in college, because my parents would let me have a little whenever they drank growing up and it wasn't a big deal to me.

(With the very big caveat that you should only do this with your own children.  The people who host drinking parties for their teenagers "so I know where he'll be drinking" drive me crazy.  You have no right to make that decision for anyone else's child.  Not to mention that it's legal most places for a minor to drink with their parent present, but not for any other adult to provide alcohol.)
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Venus193 on November 21, 2011, 07:16:29 PM
I dislike kids at things like wine tastings less because of "oh noes, teh alcohol!" than because it strikes me as a grown-up event.  More invasion of children into every single sphere, so to have a child-free evening you have to go to the strip club or something.  :P

That said, I actually agree with you that the American way of turning alcohol into this big forbidden fruit is the reason binge drinking in colleges is such a huge problem.  Introduce children to drinking responsibly, don't make it into a Big Huge Deal to drink, and they'll grow up to be more responsible drinkers.  I never cared about going out to get wasted like most everyone else in college, because my parents would let me have a little whenever they drank growing up and it wasn't a big deal to me.

(With the very big caveat that you should only do this with your own children.  The people who host drinking parties for their teenagers "so I know where he'll be drinking" drive me crazy.  You have no right to make that decision for anyone else's child.  Not to mention that it's legal most places for a minor to drink with their parent present, but not for any other adult to provide alcohol.)

I agree with this.  However, there are parents out there whose dealings with kids + alcohol are grossly irresponsible.

My friend Blanche comes from a long line of alcoholics.  As far back as she can remember it was a matter of pride in her family to be able to "hold your liquor" and children as young as three would be given full Dixie cups of wine at family events.  The adults in that situation would be arrested for this today.

Our laws about alcohol are crazy and based on scenarios such as the one above being feared as becoming the norm.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: PrincessInPink on November 21, 2011, 07:54:21 PM
Alcohol was always present at family gatherings and social events when I was a kid. I frequently got to try a little sip of something, and when I was older, like a teenager, I could have a small glass of wine or something on special occasions.

I wouldn't bring a little kid to a wine tasting, though, and wouldn't expect to see one there. I guess because the whole point of it is to drink alcohol. It's the same reason I wouldn't take a kid to a bar, but I would take them to a restaurant where alcohol happens to be served.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Venus193 on November 21, 2011, 08:11:58 PM
I don't think children are allowed in bars in the US.  And I would vote that they are out of place at wine tastings because wine tastings are adult events.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: oz diva on November 21, 2011, 10:30:09 PM
I let my kids have little sips. They say they like it, but they don't really. We don't make a big thing of it. I remember trying wine and beer when I was young and hating it.

You can take kids to bars here, so long as they are accompanied by an adult. I have no problems taking them wine tasting either, so long as they are well behaved. Many wineries have playgrounds or a box of toys.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Shopaholic on November 21, 2011, 10:42:13 PM
I don't remember wine being a big thing at my house either. My parents would let us sip if we wanted to, and we could have a small amount of wine with dinner. We mostly didn't want to, because it is bitter after all, and an acquired taste.
We didn't have beer at our house regularly, but I remember being a teenager, and tasting a leftover can of beer. It was pretty awful.

A few weeks ago, we were at a BBQ with DH's friends, and one of them had a 18-month old girl who had a real fascination with daddy's beer bottle. He let her lick the mouth of the bottle, and apparently she really liked it, because she kept sucking on it. Her parents were actually quite cool about it, joking that when she got her first bottle at age 16 she'll say "hmm, tastes like home..."
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: PrincessInPink on November 21, 2011, 10:45:18 PM
I should add that I'm not all that familiar with wine tasting, since I've never done it. I just think of it as basically an adult-oriented activity.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: bigozzy on November 22, 2011, 03:35:57 AM
The thing is that kids in Continental Europe are welcomed in settings such as the OP described and are seen in lots of otehr places where alcohol is taken in moderation.

The key here is that they learn about sensible alcohol consumption in social settings. Meanwhile in the UK we have a huge problem with underage drinking, in particular binge drinking. This is still a rarer phenomenom across the water. Unfortunately the 'fashion' seems to be spreading.

My kids see us having a very occassional social drink in moderation. Just the other day, driving back from an event late on a Saturday night they got to witness a wonderful technicolour display of the effects of binge drinking including partial nudity and part-digested fast food!
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Sharnita on November 22, 2011, 07:26:26 AM
I also don't know that everyone in Europe or other countries where the apporach is as OP desrcibes are any more responsible about their alcohol consumption as adults.  Op is responsible. I am responsible but my guess is that there are plenty of people in both countries who are not - despite a variety of parental approaches.

I also think that the variety of religions in the US that prohibit alcohol is a factor that needs to be taken into account.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: dawbs on November 22, 2011, 07:52:34 AM
There are, without straying to far, also a lot of legal issues to it.

If I give my niece a sip of my wine, I could be charged w/ contributing to the delinquency of a minor (which would make end up unemployed and unemployable in my field).  It tends to add to the paranoia and the prevailing attitude--sometimes it's taboo less because of choice and more because other people choose to make it so.

(giving it to my own child in or not in my own home is a whole different set of rules, which I"m not going to touch.  ;))
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: LadyL on November 22, 2011, 08:23:39 AM
I always liked the idea that reducing the alcohol taboo led to healthier attitudes about it.

Unfortunately the research does not bear that idea out. Specifically, the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs in 2007 found that in the UK, 33% of 15-16 year old engaged in binge drinking, compared to 18% in the U.S. Denmark was the highest at 59%. Three European countries were lower than the US - Belgium at 10%, Italy at 12% and Portugal at 11% - and the rest were as high or higher.

The U.S. also has a low average age of first intoxication (only 8% got drunk before age 13) and the second lowest rate of recent alcohol use in 15-16 year olds out of the entire sample studied (33%).

You can read a summary of the report here:http://resources.prev.org/documents/ESPAD.pdf (http://resources.prev.org/documents/ESPAD.pdf).
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Thipu1 on November 27, 2011, 04:19:29 PM
I don't think children are allowed in bars in the US.  And I would vote that they are out of place at wine tastings because wine tastings are adult events.

In the upper MidWest children are tradionally allowed in bars.  The places are known as taverns and, during the day and the early evenings they're places for family dining.  A number of pubs in the UK serve a similar function. 

I agree that wine-tastings are not appropriate for young children because there's really nothing there to interest a young child. 

A little wine or beer served to children at holiday meals doesn't bother me at all.  Of course, things can go a little awry.  When I was six there was a big party In a restaurant to celebrate my Grandparent's 50th anniversary. Cocktails with fruit were very popular.  As a kid who loved fruit, I went around the tables while people were dancing.  The orange slices and cherries in abandoned drinks didn't stand a chance.  Neither did I.  I was found fast asleep under a table.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: realgonegal1 on December 10, 2011, 08:27:15 AM
I'm British, but raised in the US.  My parents were the ones who collected car keys and let us drink in the basement.  They wanted to keep us close to home, and it worked.  Of course, that was in the dark ages - you could never do that today.  The legal liability is too severe.

I too was treated to sips of wine, sips of beer etc from the time I was about 8-9 years old.  I didn't like any of it, but it was part of being a grown up in our world.  I started drinking in public in Europe at age 16.  It was a social thing.  I don't ever remember drinking to purposely get drunk until I was in college.

I am old enough to have been annoyed when the US drinking age went from 18 to 21, because I was pretty close to being of age until the change.  Luckily, Canada was 30 minutes away and I went there to be treated like an adult again.

When I went off to college, I was pretty amazed at the serious binge drinking.  Some of my friends had never been allowed to drink, and they were the worst.  The "forbidden" environment that the 21+ drinking age created didn't help.  I think it's very telling that the biggest push to lower the age come from college presidents.

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-18560_162-4813571.html
 
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Sharnita on December 10, 2011, 08:34:01 AM
I don't know that the push from college presidents reveals anything but the fact that trying to enforce the law is a big pain in the rear for them, not that one policy is any better or worse for students. 
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: cattlekid on December 10, 2011, 08:54:30 AM
My sister and I went to several wineries while on vacation with my parents when we were anywhere from 10-12 years old on up.  We always enjoyed the tours of the wineries and were happy to have grape juice and snack on crackers while Mom and Dad were doing the tasting.  But then again, we were serious kids and knew that we were going to be in heaps o' trouble if we didn't behave.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: kherbert05 on December 10, 2011, 09:55:21 AM

Attitudes and laws are going to vary widely across the US. Here is a map of wet and dry counties in Texas. http://blue.utb.edu/paullgj/geog3320/Lectures/wet-dry-05.gif (http://blue.utb.edu/paullgj/geog3320/Lectures/wet-dry-05.gif) The partially dry counties often are that way because of charters of one or two towns. (Example Harris county is partially dry. A city called the Heights had in its charter that it was dry. The Heights was annexed by Houston in 1912. To go wet they would have leave Houston and change its charter. Not going to happen. Instead the restaurants in the area are "private" clubs that you join to be served drinks.


In Texas the further north you go the more likely that the whole county is dry because you are getting into the bible belt.


We also have BARS/Nightclubs that are restricted to over 21.


There are also bars/ice houses/beer gardens/dance halls that welcome families. http://www.riverroadicehouse.com/ (http://www.riverroadicehouse.com/) http://www.cridersrodeo.com/location.html (http://www.cridersrodeo.com/location.html) Actually I've seen two varieties of SS tourists at these places - the ones that were shocked kids were there and expressed their displeasure at the fact people would bring their brats (their word) to this adult venue.  ???  Criders actually has 2 rodeo events that kids can sign up for that night.


Then there are the ones that were told it was a great place to take their kids and were shocked people were drinking and dancing. I remember one time this woman blew her top and knocked one of my cousins down dragging her kids off the dance floor. Of course we were doing the Cotton Eye Joe - the real version not the sanitized school version. (My school version was saying bull word with C instead of bull word with S so not really that clean)


I tried to find a video of the Cotton Eye Joe - but couldn't find the version I grew up with the dancers responding to the caller's comments.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Dindrane on December 10, 2011, 01:08:42 PM
I think one of the biggest factors with the drinking age and with general attitudes towards alcohol in the United States is because of the fact that most people live in areas where driving is a necessity.  Outside of a few large cities with good public transportation, most people rely on their own cars for transportation.

One of the biggest differences I've seen between the US and particularly Europe is that the driving age here is 16 while the drinking age is 21.  It's not quite the reverse in Europe, but it almost is -- most people there can legally drink before they can legally drive, and I imagine that plus viable public transportation options for most people make drunk driving less common.

But in the United States, raising the driving age would actually make life very difficult for a lot of people, so in an effort to prevent drunk driving, the drinking age was raised instead.  I don't know how successful it has been in preventing drunk driving, but I'm fairly certain that was a large portion of the logic behind raising the drinking age a few decades ago.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Weez on December 10, 2011, 02:42:25 PM
One of the biggest differences I've seen between the US and particularly Europe is that the driving age here is 16 while the drinking age is 21.  It's not quite the reverse in Europe, but it almost is -- most people there can legally drink before they can legally drive, and I imagine that plus viable public transportation options for most people make drunk driving less common.

Actually, in most countries in Europe you can legally drive at 17 or 18 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_minimum_driving_age) and  legally purchase drink at 18 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_drinking_age); in most countries it's legal to drink in private before 18.   I'm sure there are better sources, but for speed (ok, and laziness!) I've used Wikipedia.  Also, in many areas here, public transport isn't great either.  If you live in an urban area, then you probably have access to reasonable public transport, but not in rural areas - which much of Europe is!

Digging a bit further, I came across an article on road safety from the European Commission (http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/specialist/knowledge/alcohol/prevalence_amp_rate_of_alcohol_consumption/drinking_and_driving.htm).  Interestingly, their research found that age was not a factor in drink-driving.

That report also has a summary of drinking habits (http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/specialist/knowledge/alcohol/prevalence_amp_rate_of_alcohol_consumption/alcohol_consumption.htm) in EU countries, which confirms the North/South divide in drinking habits: in the North of Europe, people will drink on fewer occasions but will 'binge drink', while in the Southern countries people will drink more often, but don't 'binge drink' ('binge drinking' defined as drinking more than the equivalent of 1 bottle of wine per day).


Thinking about it, and this is purely my own guess (so is quite probably wrong!), the attitude towards alcohol in the US reflects American culture, in that as a nation, America appears to be more conservative than much of Europe.  For example, movies which would be an '15' (only suitable for those aged 15 years or older) rating here, may be 'NC-17' in the US.  More extreme TV shows, like True Blood or Dexter are shown on select cable channels, while they're on mainstream channels here in the UK. 

<Disclaimer> This is purely conjecture, based on my experience as a Brit, who has only been to America once (Orlando) and the impression I get from news coverage and popular entertainment and culture.  Plus E-hell of course!</Disclaimer>
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Dindrane on December 10, 2011, 05:21:33 PM
It appears I'm wrong about the legality of driving, then.  However, it was so common as to be unremarkable for people I knew in the US to start driving as soon as they were legally able to.  Most people I knew when I was 16 had access to a car, even if they did not own one.  A majority of people I knew in college owned a car.  I don't think I know anybody now without one.  When I spent a semester abroad in Ireland, I knew very few people who drove -- either because they did not yet know how, or because they had no reasonable access to a car.  Even for the students who were coming from more rural parts of Ireland, driving was just not something they did much of.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: dietcokeofevil on December 10, 2011, 06:14:51 PM
I don't have a problem with drinking alcohol around kids.  I even offer my kids a taste as my parents did for me.  And just like it was for me, they don't really care for the taste.  I do believe it takes a little bit of the forbidden aspect of it away and make it just a thing that some people like and some people don't.

However, I wouldn't take my kids to a wine tasting.  It's less about their exposure to alcohol and more about my wanting to enjoy an evening with just adults.   With my 4 year old I would be focusing more attention on him than on just enjoying the wine.  My 10 year old would be fine keeping herself entertained, but the whole way home she'd be asking me to explain all the comments that she had overheard and didn't understand.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Weez on December 10, 2011, 06:25:27 PM
Most people I knew when I was 16 had access to a car, even if they did not own one.  A majority of people I knew in college owned a car.  I don't think I know anybody now without one. 

That, however, could be a good point.  Although you could pass your driving test, and be legal to drive at 17, very few 17-year olds here will have their own car, or could afford the insurance to drive it legally.  They may have access to a car (e.g. a parent's car) but that may be dependent on whether the car was needed - or even the whim of the parent!

There is definitely a higher accident rate with younger drivers and there are regular debates on how to improve that.  Suggested options usually include imposing a set period after passing the driving test during which a new driver can't drive after dark (bit awkward here in Scotland, where it gets dark at 3pm in winter!) or stopping new drivers from driving with more than 1 passenger (the belief is that more passengers = more distractions and more peer pressure to drive faster). 

Interestingly, raising the drinking age is not usually suggested as a solution to the accident rate amongst younger drivers.  Drink-driving rates have fallen in recent years but it is still an issue and we have regular anti drink-driving campaigns (especially at this time of year), but they aren't aimed at any particular age-group.


I don't have a problem with drinking alcohol around kids.  I even offer my kids a taste as my parents did for me.  And just like it was for me, they don't really care for the taste.  I do believe it takes a little bit of the forbidden aspect of it away and make it just a thing that some people like and some people don't.

That's exactly how my parents were with me and how I plan to be with my kids.  Alcohol wasn't a forbidden substance - it just didn't taste good, so I didn't want it!  I do think part of the problem with binge drinking here in the UK is that some alcohol is too pleasant tasting.  Most beers, wine and spirits are acquired tastes and you can 'educate your palate', whereas some alcopops are like drinking fruit juice.   That's fine on occasion, as long as you know your limits as they can be surprisingly high in alcohol.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Aggiesque on December 11, 2011, 09:21:20 PM
My parents never really drank. We never had it in the house (looking back, I think it just never made the budget LOL). No religious reason, we just never had the stuff around. My parents never made a big deal about it.

I never had any until I was 21... 3 weeks after my bday. I had some mixed drink with dinner. I wasn't impressed, and DH and I don't drink except the rare occasion. We had his company party at a winery, so we had wine with all the courses, but I'm still not very impressed. I'm much happier drinking water/juice(I don't drink cokes). Still have no idea what the lure of alcohol is... it all tastes gross to me.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: gramma dishes on December 11, 2011, 09:40:56 PM
When our kids were really little, their Daddy would go out with them and pull them around on our sled after the first snow.  When they came in he would pour about four drops of Peppermint Schnapps into a little cordial glass -- just barely enough to cover the bottom of the glass -- and let them have that as a special "first snow of this winter" treat. 

I would be afraid to do that today.  It was something they still remember fondly, but I think today I'd be paralyzed with fear if there was a knock on the door.  I'd be sure it was somebody from DCFS coming to confiscate my kids because we were such appallingly bad parents.  After all, we let our children taste liquor!   :o

I think the U.S. is actually going way overboard on the whole thing and I think there are many cases where it has backfired.  Having said that though, I wouldn't take my kids to a wine tasting simply because I agree with those who consider it an adult event, not because I think they shouldn't be exposed to seeing people drinking wine responsibly.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: katycoo on December 11, 2011, 11:56:18 PM
In Australia, Minors are note allowed in the actual bar of a pub, but are able to eat in the bistro.

Allowing a minor to drink in a private residence is not illegal, but as in the UK there is a massive bringe drinking culture so its less common that children attend alcohol related functions.  I would think it very odd to see young children at a wine tasting event.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: cabbagegirl28 on December 12, 2011, 09:15:46 AM
There are some states in the U.S. that do allow children to drink, as long as they are in their house, and their parents are the ones serving (can't be any other relative, I think). The reason for it is religious reasons, from what I've heard.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Sophia on December 12, 2011, 10:46:21 AM
It isn't universal that parents in the U.S. never allow their kids to drink.  I believe that where I live parents are allowed to order alcohol for their kids.   

When I was very young we lived in a house with a basement and my father made wine.  He even mushed the grapes.  I frequently got a taste (less than a Tablespoon) of wine with dinner.  In fact one of the favorite family stories is of me saying of Beaujolais, "It tastes like Rose', but it has a more heartful flavor."  I was 4.  Mom liked Rose', so he made it mostly.  The Beaujolais was a purchased bottle. 
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Portugal79 on December 16, 2011, 01:27:14 AM
Because my parents knew, with 3 older siblings i would be introduced to booze at an early age, they would give me sips of wine on occasions to desentise my body to it,  and so when i did turn 18 (even though i was drinking cider from the age of 14), i wasn't much of a drinker...not to say i haven't had wild nights (i have) but i can still have a good time without getting drunk
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: sammycat on December 16, 2011, 02:10:48 AM
Still have no idea what the lure of alcohol is... it all tastes gross to me.

I'm totally on the same page. 

My dad always had a crate of beer of in the garage, for whatever reason.  Once, when I was 7**, I snuck a sip of beer from one of the bottles...  it was the most disgusting thing I've ever tasted, and, over 30 years later I've never been tempted to drink another beer. 

We also had a liquor cabnet in the lounge room.  After my first little escapade, I was never ever tempted to try any of it. 

I once downed a large glass of vodka and orange juice on a particularly turbulent aeroplane ride where I thought we were going to die.  It tasted awful, but I do occasionally partake on flights.  Other than that, I abhor the taste of alcohol and don't bother with it.

** That was the same week I had my first and only taste of coffee - never again!  I also gorged myself on coconut ice one night that week and was violently ill.  Haven't had that again since either.  Obviously not a good week for me food/drink wise. :-X :-\
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: saki on December 16, 2011, 07:04:36 AM
I think Americans often exaggerate the extent to which Europeans don't drive/use public transport.  I just looked it up out of curiosity and 75% of UK residents own a car, as compared with 95% of Americans.  So, there is more car ownership in the US but not by a huge extent - the clear majority of British people own cars.  If you visit a more rural area of the UK absolutely everyone will own a car and they will start driving as soon as possible.  Even where I grew up - a small city - virtually everyone in my year at school learned to drive as soon as possible.

I think the difference in car ownership is more about urban/rural than anything else - a higher proportion of the UK lives in a big city than in the US and you don't need to own a car in a big city.  I think the differences in car usage  - definitely, British people are less inclined to use cars for small trips (would rather walk) and very long trips (would rather take the train) - are down to the cost of petrol and the fact that British towns and cities were not designed for cars so the traffic can be absolutely awful.

On alcohol, the big difference that I notice between the US and the UK (and I think much of Northern Europe is similar) is that it's quite common for Americans just not to drink alcohol - not particularly for religious reasons (though that's more common too), they just don't drink.  In the UK, virtually everyone drinks, it's really uncommon to be teetotal (unless you're Muslim or a strict Hindu/Buddist), and even when teetotallers have parties, they provide alcohol.  I don't think I have ever been to a party or to dinner at someone else's house (except for some of the stricter Hindus in my family) and not been offered alcohol. 
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Nibsey on December 16, 2011, 10:24:13 AM
On alcohol, the big difference that I notice between the US and the UK (and I think much of Northern Europe is similar) is that it's quite common for Americans just not to drink alcohol - not particularly for religious reasons (though that's more common too), they just don't drink.  In the UK, virtually everyone drinks, it's really uncommon to be teetotal (unless you're Muslim or a strict Hindu/Buddist), and even when teetotallers have parties, they provide alcohol.  I don't think I have ever been to a party or to dinner at someone else's house (except for some of the stricter Hindus in my family) and not been offered alcohol.

I agree with this but I also think this has to do with how people socialise. On this site I often read Americans saying they had X event in the church hall or a local park. Whereas here (at least in Ireland and I suspect in the UK too) after X event people go to a pub as either their house isn't large enough and we don't tend to use church halls for those kind of individual events (For example, for my confirmation tea and sandwiches were served at the church hall for everyone and after we went back to my house where the extended family had been invited for a party). Most pubs have an upstairs large room for events so tea and sandwiches* are often served in the local pub for after christening, communions, confirmations, funerals, milestone birthdays etc. I've even seen small weddings held in the lounge area of the pub.

The 'line' regarding children being around alcohol is that they can't be in a pub after 7pm, so it's not unusual to see children in a bar during the day. However I'm seen some people on this board with the 'line' being pubs are only for adults and a child being in one is culturally alien.

*I'm using tea and sandwiches to encompass large gatherings food, this can be soup, a buffet etc. My mom served large bowls of chicken casserole at the last big family event.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Weez on December 16, 2011, 06:30:02 PM
I agree with this but I also think this has to do with how people socialise. On this site I often read Americans saying they had X event in the church hall or a local park. Whereas here (at least in Ireland and I suspect in the UK too) after X event people go to a pub as either their house isn't large enough and we don't tend to use church halls for those kind of individual events (For example, for my confirmation tea and sandwiches were served at the church hall for everyone and after we went back to my house where the extended family had been invited for a party). Most pubs have an upstairs large room for events so tea and sandwiches* are often served in the local pub for after christening, communions, confirmations, funerals, milestone birthdays etc. I've even seen small weddings held in the lounge area of the pub.

The 'line' regarding children being around alcohol is that they can't be in a pub after 7pm, so it's not unusual to see children in a bar during the day. However I'm seen some people on this board with the 'line' being pubs are only for adults and a child being in one is culturally alien.

Nibsey, you've got a very good point there.  In my experience, in the UK most function rooms that can cater for events of any size will be in a venue with an alcohol licence, usually either a pub or a hotel.  Usually the function room will also have a bar, separate from the main pub bar.  There are some church halls or village halls where you could do the catering yourself, but many pubs/hotels would be able to prepare and serve the food for roughly the same price as it would cost you to buy it yourself (plus you'd have to prepare, store, serve and tidy it up yourself).

As for children, if I remember rightly, pubs in the UK historically had 2 bars: one for the serious drinkers (i.e. the men  ::)) and the other for women and children.   If they didn't have 2 separate bars, children weren't allowed in and women were 'discouraged' from going in.  Now however, more pubs are aiming to be 'Gastropubs' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastropub), places where you can get a good quality meal in a relaxed atmosphere and families are encouraged to visit.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: violinp on December 16, 2011, 07:42:38 PM
American here. I was served alcohol in a European country when I was 16. I also proceeded to get tipsy enough that a friend took away my drink so I wouldn't be full - on drunk. That experience taught me how to drink responsibly, and now I only have one glass of one alcoholic beverage per special meal. Also, my parents allowed Sis and me to have a little alcohol with special meals once we became high school seniors.

Many of my classmates snuck out to "barn dances," which were not held in a barn, but rather a rich kid's home, and the alcohol flowed like it was going out of style. I think it may have been partially because of the over-emphasis on teetotalling by their parents.
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Gwywnnydd on December 17, 2011, 11:53:31 AM

Thinking about it, and this is purely my own guess (so is quite probably wrong!), the attitude towards alcohol in the US reflects American culture, in that as a nation, America appears to be more conservative than much of Europe.  For example, movies which would be an '15' (only suitable for those aged 15 years or older) rating here, may be 'NC-17' in the US.  More extreme TV shows, like True Blood or Dexter are shown on select cable channels, while they're on mainstream channels here in the UK. 

It might be more (pedantically) accurate to say that America is more conservative about s3x.
Violence is OK, but s3x is Ob Da Debbil. *eyeroll* So, nudity or innuendo gets a much harsher rating than graphic violence.
Sorry, this is my pet peeve =D
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: Weez on December 17, 2011, 01:51:51 PM
Please don't apologise, I won't argue with you!  You're not being pedantic, you're being accurate. Accurate is always good!
Title: Re: Kids and Wine
Post by: kherbert05 on December 17, 2011, 04:14:44 PM

Thinking about it, and this is purely my own guess (so is quite probably wrong!), the attitude towards alcohol in the US reflects American culture, in that as a nation, America appears to be more conservative than much of Europe.  For example, movies which would be an '15' (only suitable for those aged 15 years or older) rating here, may be 'NC-17' in the US.  More extreme TV shows, like True Blood or Dexter are shown on select cable channels, while they're on mainstream channels here in the UK. 

It might be more (pedantically) accurate to say that America is more conservative about s3x.
Violence is OK, but s3x is Ob Da Debbil. *eyeroll* So, nudity or innuendo gets a much harsher rating than graphic violence.
Sorry, this is my pet peeve =D


As a kid, I noticed that movies were the kids defy the adults and save the day got harsher ratings in Canada than the US. Movies that "had" to have curse words added to get a PG rating here had ratings that kept a younger cousin from being allowed to go in Canada. (I want to say the rating was PG11 but that is a total guess).

I asked my cousins why it had that rating. They looked at me like I was nuts and said the police and government were the bad guys. I said, "of course they are."